A guy who works for a German subcontractor (a for-profit company otherwise similar to MITRE) on the ATC simulator project that I’m on told me that he just heard that they were going to "dismiss" 40 people (out of 1000). He said those who would be let go didn’t know yet. I said that sounded heartless—that our RIFs were like being in a thunderstorm: if you heard the thunder, you hadn’t been hit by the lightning.
He said the reason was that when the company decided they wanted to cut people they first had to negotiate with the organization that every company must have to represent the employees’ interests. The settlement agreed to was that every employee let go would be given a cash payment equal to a certain number of months’ salary. The number of months is the product of the number of years service times the employee’s age divided by 40, which amounts to a month’s salary for each year’s service for somebody who is 40.